|Education for Sustainable Change||July 2010|
It is you who have brought about these small miracles. Your partnership has achieved more than you can imagine. |
14-year old Daisy knows the value of your giving. In her simplicity, she asks us to please not stop our initiatives in Kendu Bay until the last girl will be born.
On behalf of Daisy and all of Kendu Bay, we warmly thank you.
Kathleen Dodge, Executive Director
| Mzungu in Kenya|
Wherever Kate Connell, KSHP resource intern, passed in Kendu Bay children crowded around. Their eyes followed the young Vermonter on her daily visits to local schools. Squeals and shouts of 'Mzungu!' (person from afar!) greeted her arrival. And when the giggling subsided and she left in June, children cried and adults openly wept.
Since January, Kate has lived in Kendu Bay working to strengthen KSHP's girls empowerment and health maintenance initiative. Her efforts have resulted in the development of an integrated approach to promoting girls' health and social empowerment upon which KSHP can build.
During her six months, Kate engaged teachers and ignited enthusiasm among students at her six core schools. At all levels of the community, she inspired admiration and participation.
"Kate became the face of our girls' programme in Kendu Bay," observed Peter Liech, director of Nyashep Education Trust [KSHP partner project]. "She helped us to see what can be done. She was deeply respected by everyone; they wanted her to stay forever."
Kate was a model for girls, and through her confidence in them, they learned to see themselves as strong, competent and worthy of respect. And to thank her for believing in them, songs were created and dances performed by students for their Sister Kate.
Each song celebrated the value of her contribution. This song included a special plea to all of us. (translated from Luo):
Do not be like little comets.
Bright stars shine not like little
comets that flash and then
To those involved with this
initiative, do not be like flowers
that quickly burst in the plains
and brighten hearts, but soon
Because of your involvement and your presence, we (girls) are now
stars. We want to shine forever.
As flowers, we want to bloom forever.
We will surely miss your love, your dedication and your presence;
And we hope you will not be swallowed into the big aircraft across the
seas and gone forever.
You can go back knowing that we girls are no longer afraid of
expressing ourselves. Now we can be confident in school.
All of Kendu Bay misses Kate's warm
mzungu smile. She had become part of the fabric of their community,
woven into their hearts.
This fall, Kate begins a Master's degree program in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Lesley University, Cambridge, MA.
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|Dignity in a Latrine
Plaques on Ongalo & Kogembo primary schools' new latrines salute Grace & Shannon
O'Hara, La Canada, CA for their funding support.
Privacy at school is a privilege for girls in rural Kenyan villages. Without privacy, girls stay home each month during their periods; they miss class,
fall behind in their studies and drop out of school. Without privacy, a girl
cannot protect her self esteem.
KSHP's latrine-building initiative at partner schools fulfills one of the Three Pillars of KSHP's overall strategy for girls' social empowerment and health maintenance. This integrated concept embraces Sanitation (water & latrines), Supplies (dignity kits) and Sensitization (Girls Clubs & community forums).
There are 225 girls at Ongalo and Kogembo
schools who can testify to the value of this important initiative. Daisy's eloquence in Until the Last Girl Will be Born reveals how a simple thing - a latrine or a dignity kit - can lift barriers and open the future to a girl.
Each latrine is
comprised of three units plus a bathing/changing room.
Construction was funded through the efforts of two teenage sisters from southern California - Grace and Shannon O'Hara - who raise funds for their Kendu Bay peers by making and selling photo note cards.
Project outcomes have turned the heads of area officials who have pledged their technical support for future constructions:
"I am happy I came in
person to witness this
occasion. Our office will be ready to work
together with Nyashep/KSHP to give them
technical advice whenever they want
Jack Aduda, Area
Public Health Officer
A Kogembo student inspects her school's new girl-friendly latrine
to judge it "peek proof" from boys.
To support this latrine-building program . . .
|. . . and Dignity in a KitGirls in grades 4-8 at Ongalo Primary School received their treasured Dignity Kits containing reusable sanitary napkins, instructions on care and two girls' underwear. This creative and powerful solution to meeting the needs of a girl's monthly cycle is transforming traditional attitudes in Kendu Bay and giving girls a reason to smile . . . all the way to school.
Statistics help in assessing the merits of a program. And to evaluate its human impact - its ability to motivate social change - we listen to those whose lives are more hopeful because of our caring . . .
have not been easy for me, as I have just been using homemade kits of
rags and blankets. It has always been my lowest moment. I thank
Nyashep/KSHP so much."
Peres Adhiambo, Grade 8 student.
"I have all along understood the problems our daughters have been facing - from the time the daughter of my late brother informed me she didn't go to school because there was nobody to buy her sanitary pads. I had confronted her why she missed school. Her boldness pierced through my heart and I realized something just had to be done. I then remembered what Nyashep/KSHP is doing and it just dawned on me why this organization addresses the girl child issued. Today I am a happy man and with the discussion we had today, I think I am a changed person." Washington Soleh, Development Committee
"Didn't you see my girls exuding a lot of confidence when
they will openly take and carry pads in front of their fathers? This
shows you how far we have come! Part of our dream is fulfilled and I am
looking forward to improved academic standard from our girls."
Ms. Kisera, teacher mentor of Kogembo Girls' Club
"One of the challenges we have faced as a Ministry is the falling academic standards of girls in primary schools associated with absenteeism during their menses and incidence of pregnancies. What you have done today is wonderful and a big plus to our department. I am so impressed with the Dignity Kit and, indeed, there lies the dignity our girls deserve. We will give you maximum cooperation in your activities."
Mr. Samuel Mboga, Area
Education Officer representing the Department of
To support this girls' health & social empowerment initiative. . .
|Until the Last Girl Will be Born . . .|
13-year old Daisy Awuor stood before a community gathering last month and opened her heart. She addressed the District Education Officer, her school's principal and teachers, parents and peers. Daisy, a
grade 8 student, wanted everyone at Kogembo Primary School girls' latrine dedication to hear her plea.
Daisy's poignant statement highlights the struggles of young girls in Kendu Bay and how KSHP activities are helping them. Our partner organization, Nyashep Education Trust, coordinates a three-pronged empowerment program, providing Girls Club education (Sensitization), Dignity Kit distribution (Supplies) and construction of girls' latrines (Sanitation) at local primary schools.
Your support of this budding program has given Daisy confidence that life is changing for girls in Kendu Bay.
Message from Daisy:
Guests of honour, teachers, parents, ladies and gentlemen. My name
is Daisy Awuor and I am a pupil from this school in Std 8. I stand here
on behalf of the girls in Kogembo Primary School to boast of what the
Lord has done on our side.
The girl child who was despised by most people has become a corner
stone of our homes. Just look at a sample of ladies around you - these
ladies who got enough education, ladies who did not play with the
curriculum. They now drive saloon cars, 4 wheels and their parents live
a better life. Girls are building pillars.
Special thanks go to the organizations that deal with the rights of
the girl child. They have done a lot to protect us from dangers of rape,
early marriages, school dropouts and misuse by boys and arrogant
men. Our education is now made easier than before.
To the parents and teachers, please help us realize our dreams,
before we are dumped into the yawning earth. Look at the toilet they
have built just for girls; sanitary towels to our sides; and girls'
programme are all at our toes.
Mzungus like Kate and Neale travelled from America just for our
benefits. To add on top of all those blessings and advantages, we only
need to get over 300 marks in KCPE and our high school education can
be freely sponsored.
Let me sound a warning to my fellow girls who have not realized
that life appears once. Take care and let no one cheat you. We don't
want pregnancies, early marriages, venereal diseases and school
dropouts. Let us aspire to be future doctors, pilots, teachers,
ministers, MPs and high posts that people admire.
My last message goes to Nyashep group. We as girls, we appreciate
your development, seminars and teachings you impart on us about
life. It is something we could not afford easily. Please do not stop
your initiatives in Kendu Bay, Kenya until the last girl will be born.
To the mothers who are here, give birth to more girls. They are the
future to our country.
To the fathers who want to put (on) coat suits like that of the Prime
Minister Raila, educate your girls now.
Thank you so much for listening to me.